Week 2 Recap
Week 3 of the 2023 high school football season has come and gone, and yet again, the headline of the week is what many would consider to be a major upset and a near-miss. Let’s dive right in.
Game of the Week
Boiling Springs 29 Chapman 7
The Boiling Springs Bulldogs have been one of the biggest storylines so far this season. Many wrote the Bulldogs off, with the still relative youth of the roster and a QB in Lincoln Huskey that is still developing. Some might have thought they’d be battling to try and at least get an at-large bid to the playoffs and just try to win a game or 2. If the goal was to win a couple of games, that has now been checked off. If the goal was simply to show improvement each week, so far so good. Case/Point, the Matt Reel’s Dogs are experiencing success the program has not had in the better part of the last 7 or so years.
Boiling Springs opened the season just a few plays away from upsetting TL Hanna. Last week, they shut out Mauldin on the road with a dominant passing performance from Huskey. This week, they would face their toughest test yet in what has become an annual “rivalry” with their neighbors from Inman – the Chapman Panthers.
Last season, the Bulldogs picked up the first win of Matt Reel’s tenure on the road by breaking a losing streak with the Panthers that dated back to 2017 with a narrow 28-27 decision.
This year, the Bulldogs established dominance and jumped on the Panthers, who were fresh off a big upset of Byrnes last week, early on.
Amyjai Boyd picked off a Coleman Gray pass on the Panthers’ first drive, returning it to the plus 37 yardline, setting up an eventual 1 yard TD rush by junior Ry’Shaun Morgan, the first of 2 rushing TDs on the night for him.
The Bulldogs added on early in the 2nd quarter when Lincoln Huskey hit Tristan Horsey-Johnson from 27 yards out for his lone TD pass of the night, giving the Dogs a 14-0 advantage.
The Bulldogs added a couple of fieldgoals from junior kicker Michael Dueck with a safety sandwiched in between to take a 22-0 lead.
Chapman finally broke the goose egg when Coleman Gray hit Shawn Cunningham on a 5 yard TD pass with just under 7 and a half minutes to play in the game.
But, it was Ry’Shaun Morgan that put the exclamation point on the night for Boiling Springs with a 19 yard TD run with 2:09 to play, sealing Boiling Springs’ first home win in 3 years.
Morgan led the charge for BSHS, rushing for 130 yards on 18 carries with 2 TDs. Javen Chhim added 64 yards on 11 touches. Lincoln Huskey completed 10 of 17 passes for 113 yards and a TD.
Defensively, Jameillion Miller and Campbell Johnson led the Dogs with 5 tackles each, with Miller logging a sack. Amyjai Boyd and Jeremiah Favorite each tallied an interception.
Chapman was led by Coleman Gray, who went 19-34 with 160 yards and a TD with 2 picks.
Boiling Springs goes back on the road next week, taking on Hillcrest in Simpsonville while the Panthers will host Laurens.
Gaffney 27 South Pointe 21
In a battle of evenly-matched teams, the Gaffney Indians welcomed the Stallions from Rock Hill to The Reservation.
In the early going, it was evident that this would be a barn-burner with a lot of yellow hankies.
South Pointe had a huge pass play called back for a hold on their first series, followed by back to back plays with a penalty – one for a personal foul and one for an illegal forward pass. After a Gaffney 3 and out, it was the Stallions that drew first blood.
On 3rd and 25, a swing pass went for a 24 yard gain, setting up a 41 yard scamper for a TD by South Pointe running back Aidan Turner on 4th and 1, giving the Stallions a 7-0 lead with about 3:00 to play in the 1st.
Gaffney had a little of the same luck on 3rd and the Peachoid, converting on a dime of a pass from Riley Staton to Emazon Littlejohn down the near sideline. It would go downhill from there as a holding call later on made for another 3rd and long they couldn’t convert.
The Indians got a 2nd chance when Viante Robb picked off a pass, the first of 2 interceptions on the night for the Gaffney defense. There was a hold on the return, setting them up at their own 37 yardline. The Indians proceeded to drive 63 yards, tying the game on a 4 yard TD rush on 4th and 1 from Jaiden McDowell with 6:01 to play in the first half.
After a 3 and out, Gaffney struck again on a perfectly placed 30 yard bullet from Riley Staton to Emazon Littlejohn on a slant and go for a TD, making it 14-7 with just over 2:00 to play in the half.
Gaffney made it a 10 point game early in the 3rd quarter when they took advantage of a strip sack on 4th and 6 that gave them the ball at the South Pointe 20, scoring on a 32 yard fieldgoal from Jake Spadavecchia.
The Stallions would need an answer in the worst way, and they got it marching 60+ yards to cut it to a 3 point game on an 11 yard TD run by Aidan Turner with 6:33 to play in the stanza.
Gaffney responded with yet another Spadavecchia fieldgoal, this one from 32 yards out to make it 20-14 heading into the 4th quarter, and added on with a big 62 yard TD pass from Staton to Emazon Littlejohn to make it 27-14 with 10:40 to play.
South Pointe struck back to make it a 1 score game, and managed to force a Gaffney punt, setting up a decisive drive with around 4:00 to go. That drive ultimately ended with a Jayden Sims interception on 4th and 25, allowing the Indians to knee it to victory.
Riley Staton went 18-27 through the air with 256 yards and 2 TDs. Emazon Littlejohn led the way receiving with 116 yards on 5 catches with 2 TDs. Jaiden McDowell also was a big part of the aerial attack, logging 106 yards on 6 snags to go with his 64 rushing yards on 18 carries.
The Indians will hit the road next week for another tough battle at Mallard Creek.
Spartanburg 14 Broome 13
The Vikings, in spite of struggles along the offensive line, managed to use their defense to pick up a big 17-6 upset win over Dutch Fork on the road last week.
This week, they returned to the friendly confines of Viking Stadium for a friendly battle between the best friends Mark Hodge and Lynn Fleming. I am not gonna lie. We all know Broome is good. We also all know the key to beating them lies in containing the state’s #1 ranked player/running back Jaylen McGill and limiting Centurion QB Kamajay Brackett-Brannon.
The Vikings did that with effectiveness all night long, limiting McGill to just 70 yards on 18 rushes and just 1 rushing touchdown. Brackett-Brannon was held to just 39 rushing yards on 9 carries with a TD and 104 yards through the air.
Sounds like the Vikings should have dominated this one same as they did last year when these 2 met at Royal Stadium with the Centurion missing McGill and KBB, right?
Not right. The Vikings’ offensive line struggled once again, and it led to TJ Johnson having just 1 TD pass on the night, going 15 of 18 for 149 yards with a couple of picks. Johnson also added 92 rushing yards on 13 attempts with a TD.
To compound their struggles, the long snapper continually snapped the ball high, which led to a blocked fieldgoal to set up McGill’s rushing TD and the 7-0 lead the Centurions held until early in the 3rd quarter. After erasing the zero, the Vikings struck again, taking a 14-7 lead with 11:00 to play in the game.
In the end, the Centurions mustered a late TD, making it a 1 point game, and opted to go for the win rather than try and go to overtime. They went for 2, and failed to convert it, putting their hopes on recovering the ensuing onside kick.
It wasn’t meant to be as Spartanburg got it and held on for their 2nd straight win.
Aside from TJ Johnson, Spartanburg’s 2nd most notable performance on offense was an 8 reception, 95 yard effort from Justin Rice.
The Vikings will take on Grayson (Ga) next week at Viking Stadium while Broome will hit the road to take on a struggling Union County.
Byrnes 37 Greenville 14
The Rebels, after the tough loss thanks to some self-inflicted wounds last week at Chapman, didn’t have a much easier test this week, hosting Mazeo Bennett and the Greenville Red Raiders.
Unfortunately for Greenville, Bennett suffered an injury and would have to leave the game, which may have ultimately been their demise. Especially facing this Byrnes defense in the not-so-friendly confines of Nixon Field.
It did not get off to the strongest start for either squad, with each one going 3 and out on each of their first 3 series. Byrnes finally broke the tie with a Dreson Evans 10 yard TD run with 8:16 to play in the first half.
They added on via a roughly 20 yard TD pass from Andrew Stevens to Chamarryus Bomar about 4:00 later. At around the 2:00 mark of the 2nd quarter, Stevens hit Armoni Weaver in the flat for a 56 yard TD catch and run to make it 21-0.
Byrnes would go on to outscore the Raiders 16-14 the rest of the way, with Stevens throwing for 4 TDs in the win that saw the Rebels put up 416 yards of total offense.
Greenwood 10 Dorman 7
This one could almost be summarized in 1 sentence.
Dorman had 1 rushing yard at the half. (Bob Uecker: “One yard? One Got Dang yard?! That’s it?!”)
They did not add too many more in the 2nd half. They finished with a net gain of 21 yards on the ground, led by Tra’Von Fernandez with 8 yards.
The Cavaliers also used 2 quarterbacks in this one. David Sorenson went 5 of 12 for 72 yards while senior Riley Scruggs led the aerial attack with a 9-14, 142 yard effort with Dorman’s lone TD – a 52 yard pass to Cason Gilliam.
Despite that, Owen Hendricks led the Dorman defense with 9 tackles, a sack, and 1.5 tackles for a loss, as the Cavaliers held Greenwood to just a 3-0 lead at the half and 1 TD in the 2nd half that was the difference in the game.
Dorman will look to rebound after a bye week next week, returning to action at home against the Clover Blue Eagles on September 15th.
Greer 51 Blue Ridge 0
Today it was announced that Greer standout running back LaDainnian Martin would miss significant time with an injury. That news was a bit ominous heading into a big rivalry matchup against Blue Ridge. Or so one would think…
To channel Lee Corso’s energy.. “Not so fast, my friend!”
The Yellow Jackets had a whale of an offensive night, thanks to Senior Chris Hall, who ran the ball 18 times for 261 yards and 4 touchdowns.
Add in Kaden Rowland’s 17-25 passing with 188 yards and a pair of TDs and it was a recipe for a big night.
Brock Diggins hauled in 4 passes for 74 yards with a TD while Tycorian Gist had 30 yards and a touchdown on 3 catches.
Greer will host the Byrnes Rebels at Dooley Field next week, and without LaDainnian Martin, the inevitable question is that with the Byrnes defense as nasty as they are, who can step up on the Yellow Jackets’ offense?
York 38 Union 14
This game was actually close for a while with Union taking an early 7-0 lead on a 5 yard run by Cam Owens. It went downhill quickly from there with the Cougars scoring 38 unanswered. The biggest positive in this for Union was that it was only a 1 score game at the half, when they trailed 14-7.
Union will have a hard time next week given their struggles as they face a Broome team that has more than proven that they may just be the favorite to battle with Chapman, Daniel, and Clinton in the 3A upperstate.
Chesnee 20 Walhalla 10
The Eagles, despite the setback at Broome last week, proved once again that they are definitely on the upswing as they went to take on Walhalla and picked up their first win over a school in a higher classification in almost 3 years.
After a few mutual 3 and outs, Kaylob Blanton got Chesnee on the board with a 29 yard interception return for a TD at around the 5 minute mark of the 1st quarter.
Following a quick 3 and out, Adonis Burgess extended the lead on a 40 yard punt return TD, making it 14-0.
It wasn’t until the final drive of the 1st half that the Eagles managed to find paydirt on the offensive side of the ball, capping a 7 play, 54 yard drive with a 22 yard TD pass from Carson Gossett to Kaleb Swaney.
The Razorbacks went on to score 10 unanswered in the 2nd half, with the Eagles sealing the game via recovering an onside kick.
Gossett led the passing game for Chesnee with 12 completions for 103 yards and a TD. Kaylob Blanton hauled in 4 passes for 80 yards to go along with his pick 6.
Chesnee will host a “border battle” against Rutherford-Spindale Central next week.